Promoter blasts high Perth costs
Gareth Williams. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

The promoter behind Big Day Out and heavy-metal festival Soundwave says price gouging in Perth and a lack of government support gave him no other option but to pull the plug on the WA leg of both festivals.

Sydney-based promoter AJ Maddah confirmed the Soundwave festival at Arena Joondalup today, which is expected to attract a crowd of 20,000, would be WA's last, with the outspoken promoter also questioning the continued viability of outdoor rock festivals in Perth.

Maddah said today's event would lose millions and it was "fast becoming impossible" to host concerts in Perth because of price gouging, government hurdles, high logistical costs and slow ticket sales.

"To set up the electrics on site in Sydney, it costs $67,000," Maddah said.

It costs $180,000 in Perth.

"To set up the stages in Melbourne, it costs $85,000. For the identical stages in Perth, the guy wants $200,000.

"And in previous years we've dealt with all the government nonsense because we've had support behind us and the ticket sales behind us . . . it's got to the point where I just can't do it any more."

Like this year's Big Day Out, the hard-rock and metal festival, which drew a crowd of more than 40,000 last year, changed venues from Claremont Showground to Arena Joondalup after a spat between Maddah, the Royal Agricultural Society and the Town of Claremont.

Soundwave, which began in Perth in 2004, has been touring nationally since 2007.

Gareth Williams, dubbed the Heavy Metal Poet, said it was a sad day for all WA metal fans.

Williams, from Bayswater, will open today's Soundwave festival with the 18th century poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner after tweeting an offer to Maddah when a band pulled out.

The poem, written by Englishman Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is the title of an epic 13-minute song from metal legends Iron Maiden.

The West Australian

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